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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333029

Research Project: Systems Approach for Managing Emerging Insect Pests and Insect-Transmitted Pathogens of Potatoes

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Title: "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” associated with the psyllid, Bactericera maculipennis (Hemiptera: Triozidae)

item BORGES, KARINA - Heritage University
item Cooper, William - Rodney
item Garczynski, Stephen
item THINAKARAN, JENITA - University Of Idaho
item JENSEN, ANDY - Washington State Potato Foundation
item Horton, David
item Munyaneza, Joseph - Joe
item CUEVA, ISABEL - Heritage University
item BARCENAS, NINA - Heritage University

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2016
Publication Date: 1/19/2017
Publication URL:
Citation: Borges, K.M., Cooper, W.R., Garczynski, S.F., Thinakaran, J., Jensen, A., Horton, D.R., Munyaneza, J.E., Cueva, I., Barcenas, N. 2017. "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum” associated with the psyllid, Bactericera maculipennis (Hemiptera: Triozidae). Environmental Entomology. 46:210-216.

Interpretive Summary: Bactericera maculipennis is a psyllid that shares certain host plants with the potato psyllid, the vector of the zebra chip pathogen. Scientists at the USDA-ARS in Wapato, WA, in collaboration with scientists at Heritage University in Toppenish, WA, sampled B. maculipennis collected from field bindweed in Washington and Idaho to determine whether this psyllid, like potato psyllid, carries the zebra chip pathogen. They found that 30% of wild B. maculipennis carry the pathogen, and that the pathogen can be transmitted between psyllid species on shared host plants under laboratory conditions. However, B. maculipennis did not survive on or transmit the pathogen to potato, so this psyllid is not a direct threat to potato production. Results of our study indicate that the zebra chip pathogen is capable of spreading to other psyllid species on non-crop hosts, and highlight the importance of understanding ecology of pestiferous psyllids in non-crop environments.

Technical Abstract: The psyllid Bactericera maculipennis (Crawford) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) often cohabits field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis, Solanales: Convolvulaceae) and other plants with the congeneric psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Bactericera cockerelli is a vector of "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum", the pathogen associated with zebra chip disease of potato (Solanales: Solanaceae). Because B. maculipennis and B. cockerelli both naturally occur on certain plants, we surveyed B. maculipennis adults collected from Washington and Idaho for presence of "Ca. L. solanacearum" to determine whether this psyllid also harbors this pathogen. Liberibacter was present in 30% of field-collected B. maculipennis, and in 100% of colony-reared psyllids. Sequences of 16S rDNA and microsatellite markers revealed that "Ca. L. solanacearum" from B. maculipennis was closely related to Liberibacter haplotype B from B. cockerelli. Results of laboratory assays demonstrated that Liberibacter can be transmitted between B. cockerelli and B. maculipennis on plants within the Convolvulaceae. Potato plants challenged with Liberibacter-infected B. maculipennis did not become infected, apparently because potato is not a suitable host for the psyllid. We therefore conclude that B. maculipennis is not a direct threat to potato production, despite its association with Liberibacter. We are the first to report that "Ca. L. solanacearum" is associated with a psyllid other than B. cockerelli in North America. Results of our study demonstrate the importance of understanding the complete ecology of psyllids, including interactions with other psyllids on non-crop hosts, in predicting what crops or regions are potentially susceptible to the spread of Liberibacter.